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Bemidji airport, state’s fourth busiest, wants some respect

Bemidji officials say few people realize that their airport is the state’s fourth busiest, so they’re looking at some serious PR, says the Bemidji Pioneer.

“We have an identity crisis,” said Airport Authority Commissioner Jack Frost. “That we are fourth in enplanements blows people’s minds. We need to market BJI.”

He’s right. How many knew its designation is BJI?

So the airport commissioners voted to spend $60,000 on a marketing consultant to come up with a marketing strategy that will attract more passengers and businesses. They’ll use $42,000 from a state program and the rest from local funds.

The paper said the consultant is Tanya Korpi MacLeod of Tanya Korpi Strategic Communications of Bemidji, who has offered these suggestions:

— A comprehensive messaging strategy that outlines the segmentation, targeting and positioning for each of the two entities (JEDC and Airport Authority) and can serve as a “source document” for communications of all kinds.

— A Web site for each entity that reflects that strategy, including a brand that’s better aligned to their targets’ expectations of experience in a business context.

— A comprehensive communications and marketing plan that could be used to get partners on board and attract further funding.

Until marketing budgets increase, MacLeod said she didn’t “see any room for traditional media (radio, TV, print, billboards). These types of communications require an infrastructure to support them … and right now you simply don’t have that infrastructure in place.”

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by John Roach on 07/16/2009 - 11:14 am.

    Hmmmm. According to the FAA, in 2008 the busiest airports in Minnesota were:

    1. Minneapolis/St. Paul
    2. Flying Cloud
    3. St. Paul Downtown
    4. Anoka County
    5. Duluth
    6. Rochester
    7. Crystal
    8. St. Cloud

    Bemidji is a non-tower field, so it doesn’t show up in the FAA database; however, it reports an average of 35 operations per day which works out to 12275 per year. This is considerably below #8 St. Cloud, which reported 20209 operations in 2008.

  2. Submitted by John Roach on 07/16/2009 - 11:59 am.

    I did mean to add that yes, BJI is number 4 in “revenue passenger emplanements” in Minnesota. However, this statistic by itself does not accurately reflect how many people use a particular airport, nor does it reflect how “busy” that airport is.

  3. Submitted by Mike Beard on 07/17/2009 - 09:54 am.

    Living in Bemidji, I do believe the headline should have read that Bemidji is the 4th busiest airport OUTSIDE OF THE METROPOLITAN TWIN CITIES AREA. That would take out Anoka County Airport, Crystal Airport, and Flying Cloud.

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